On The Brighter Side
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Fun Facts About Our Presidents
How about some fun facts about our Presidents rather than about tariffs, wars, policies and such. Each man (so far) had some little known habits and abilities which we don’t find in those history books we studied in school.
For example, who was the smallest one…..answer is James Madison who was only 5’4” and weighed about 100 pounds. He also had chronic diseases, but lived to a ripe old age anyway. The tallest was Abraham Lincoln standing 6’4” plus that familiar stovepipe hat he wore and used for storing papers as well as cover his head. Which President weighed the most? Answer, William Howard Taft who weighed a hefty 332 pounds. It was rumored that he got stuck in the White House bathtub and a number of men were needed to rescue him. He later served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a job he liked much better than being the President.
Who was the smartest. John Adams is regarded as having the highest IQ at a proposed 173. His son, John Quincy Adams was close behind at an estimated 169.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were friends at times, but rivals most of the time. They both died on the same day which was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence….death dates, July 4, 1826. John Adams was also the first President to live in the White House having moved in while the paint was still wet. It was called the Executive Mansion or the President’s House until Theodore Roosevelt referred to it as the White House.
Thomas Jefferson really liked having pets. One was Dick, a talking bird that would ride on his shoulder. Dick’s vocabulary was heavily laced with profanity, so he couldn’t attend important meetings with Pres. Jefferson.
George Washington served two terms and did not belong to a political party. When he died he was the owner of 300 slaves. Some belonged to Martha when they were married, but he acquired more as he expanded his holdings which in those times required slave labor to clear land and plant and harvest crops. They also helped in the making of whiskey that was the source of much of Pres. Washington’s wealth.
Which President was the father of the largest family? Answer: John Tyler who was the father of 15 children. Some of his descendants live among us today.
Here are a few “firsts”. Franklin Pierce was the first to have Christmas trees in the White House. Harry S Truman was the first to give a televised speech. JFK was the first to have televised press conferences. Bill Clinton was the first to have been a Rhodes Scholar and ranks among the highest IQs.
Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump were the only divorced Presidents.
Did you know that Gerald Ford once worked as a fashion model for Cosmopolitan and was on the cover of the magazine a few times in the 1940s. He was very handsome and a trendy dresser. He was never elected to office, but served after Richard Nixon resigned.
U. S. Grant liked his whiskey and cigars. He smoked 20 cigars each day and as a result died from throat cancer.
That’s probably enough trivia for now. There are many more tidbits such as cows and sheep that grazed the White House lawn, the three colors of marble used to complete the Washington Monument, Tad Lincoln’s goat cart that raced down the White House halls, on and on. After all, they were all very different individuals, but our nation still survives “with freedom and justice for all”; at least we hope we can preserve that ideal.
Submitted by Marilyn Goodwin